March Reviews

Every month I think "this will be the month I read FIVE or SIX or SEVEN book!" And then life happens. This month was hectic; Sawyer was sick for a week, my grading to assignment ratio is broken, I had family in town for a few days, we had parent teacher conferences, and now we're having as much fun and productivity as possible during spring break. So, four books it is. This seems to be my number, typically, during the school year. And while I know a book a week is probably more than 90% of Americans, it still always feels a bit low. 

Anyway, here we go:

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
209 pages
This was a reread for work, the story of Okonkwo's struggle to maintain power in his African tribe. Family, authority, tradition, and the threat of impending colonization are all hot topics in this classic.

Verdict: Both my students and I appreciated this book, although I think much of their positivity came from the fact that it's short and has simplistic syntax and structure, especially coming off of The Scarlet Letter.

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
77 pages
This was another work reread, and man, can it be a bit of a slog to get through. The language is so rich and detailed that I hate implying that it's not good, but it can be a challenge to get through, since Conrad's complexity is consistent from start to finish (I admittedly get a bit excited when there's dialogue). Instead of making my students tackle an essay after reading it on their own over spring break I am having them create a soundtrack, basing their selections after certain concepts (themes, setting, characters, etc...) I'm looking forward to seeing what they came up with.

Verdict: It's complex, it's a bit racist, but it is an interesting psychological study. And it is important to challenge ourselves as readers, both in genre and style. 

The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff
384 pages
A monster in the lake, a failed affair, a small town, a pregnancy, a sick friend, an unknown father, a complicated family to investigate, and a hippie mother. This book has a lot going on, but eventually it all comes together. 

Verdict: Lauren Groff has quickly become one of my contemporary favorites, as her books are consistently solid and she possesses the literary trifecta- quality characters, writing, and plot. A small component of the ending irked me a tad, but considering the rest of the books was so great I got over it. 

Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family by Amy Ellis Nutt
304 pages
I wrote about this book here.

974 pages 

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